Wood Scraps and Antique Photographs

wood scrap photo blocks

Recently, I bought a bulk pack of old ephemera on Ebay, and included were several antique photographs.  Unfortunately, several of them were damaged or very faded.  I’ll be honest – I almost pitched them, but once I looked at them more closely, and saw the people, not just a damaged photo, I couldn’t do it.  I had to find something I could do with the photos, that allowed them to “live on”, while not just becoming a piece of paper scrap clutter in my house.

antique photographs

 We have bunches of wood scraps leftover from the plank wall my husband has been installing in our bedroom, and the were perfect for this project.

repurpose wood scraps


I stained all the pieces first, then picked a few complimentary scrapbook papers that had an old-fashioned look.

stained wood scraps

I used plain school glue to decoupage the paper to the blocks.  Once the glue had dried, I used sandpaper “cut” away the excess paper.  It kills two birds with one stone by doing this.  I don’t have to pre-cut the paper, and one side of the block gets distressed at the same time.  Once the excess paper is removed, I sand the other three sides as well.

decoupaged wood blocks

 Here’s a finished block, ready to add photos to.  I love this floral paper.  It reminds me of vintage wallpaper.

decoupage on wood

 The torn, tattered edges on the old school photo are now sealed down, so they can’t tear further.

antique photograph wood blocks

I love the photo of the man with a pipe standing between two women, but it had a rust mark on the side, so I tore the edges off it before gluing it in place.

salvaged wood photo blocks


I think this baby’s smile is priceless, especially at a time when people didn’t smile in photos.  There’s no stopping a happy baby from smiling!


wood antique photograph block

Obviously, you don’t need castoff antique photos to make this project.  Current family photos would look beautiful on wood blocks, and they make a very quick and easy gift as well.

Many more Easy DIY Project Ideas can be found HERE.

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  1. I’ve always felt that there is something so sad about old photographs being discarded. What a great way to save them and create a piece that honors the past. Lovely!

  2. I love this idea! I also hate to see old photographs thrown away. I might try this with new photographs with the the craft club that I sponsor at school. The girls could make something for their bedrooms and I could get rid of some scrap lumber.

  3. What a great idea! So rustic! Thanx for sharing. I will have to try this. Jo

  4. Great way to save old photos. I have a stack of them to play with and this is a wonderful project.

  5. Kathleen Hornbecker says

    Terrific idea…must do this for some of my photos
    Question: Did you only use the school glue to attach the picture? Any thing over the picture to protect it? Thanks!

    • Kathleen,
      I used school glue to attach the regular weight photos, and e6000 adhesive to attach the 2 really thick ones (the baby and single woman). I didn’t put anything over the top of them, since this was more of a craft project for me, than trying to preserve photos. I guess I figured they had lasted this long, they should be okay for a good while longer! If I was doing my own personal family photos, I would look for something that is archival safe to help preserve them.

  6. I love this idea! I have BOXES of old family photos that are only collecting dust. Now I have a great idea how to show them off. Thank you. Have you thought of putting them in a frame also? You could mount them on the top of the backer and set them in the frame…no glass of course. With a nice mat behind that, it could look really nice too.
    Just a thought…maybe I’ll try it and let you know how I actually liked it.
    Treasures by Renee

  7. Jacqueline says

    Hello! Those are truly beautiful! I don’t want to be a killjoy, but being a genealogist, old photos look to me like priceless family heirlooms. If ever you are able to even partially identify a photo as even belonging to a family, please consider attempting to rehome them. Messages can be posted on message boards on family forums on the many genealogy research sites, such as familysearch.org, ancestry.com, boards.rootsweb.com. Sketchy details that don’t seem like much to you, are sometimes plenty to identify the person or family in the photo to a family historian who has the other information to fill in the gaps, but no idea what the person every looked like. Often there are even partial names on the back and/or a photo studio’s name. They can be scanned and used that way as well. I think what you have done is beautiful, it’s just that until I got into genealogy myself, I didn’t realize how valuable these photos are to the family historians. You can’t imagine how thrilling it is to see a picture of the grandfather you never knew for the first time, or a picture of a baby cousin who died early in life. Just food for thought.
    PS If you ever get started on family history, you will become addicted, so I consider yourself forewarned!! Familysearch.org is an excellent place to start, as they are completely free, and they have a ginormous volume of scanned images of records. A good place to start is the 1940 census, find the most recent generation you can, and work your way backwards. It’s pretty cool to find out your family fought in the Revolutionary War or Civil War, etc.

    • Thanks for all the details, Jacueline! I don’t personally have time to do all those things, but it may be beneficial to another reader who would enjoy it. My uncle is a genealogist, and he would wholeheartedly agree with you! Sadly, many people don’t value their own ancestors photos, if they didn’t personally know them, which is how they end up on Ebay, and in yard sales and thrift stores. I can’t understand that at all, but it’s a sad fact.

  8. Jacqueline says

    One more thing … there are pages on Facebook where volunteers will restore your scanned images that you post right to the page. Free!!

  9. What a creative way to give new life to these old photos, they deserved a second chance! Love the pretty paper backgrounds too.

  10. Jennie Pilant says

    I love old photos. I have them all over my house. My husband and son think I’m nuts having pics of people I don’t even know. There is something wrong with people who discard pictures of their families,even if they have no idea of their names. It’s part of their heritage. I feel that by me having them I carry a piece of them into the future.

  11. Marlene Stephenson says

    I love old photos and what a great way to display them,thanks.

  12. What a wonderful idea. I think is great that you “saw the people” in the pictures and allowed them to live on even though they are not part of your family. I have several boxes of old photos that have been passed down to me. Unfortunately they stop here. I do not have anyone to pass them on to. I can only hope that one day a special person as yourself will come along and see and appreciate the people in those pictures and what they represent. I hate to think that they will be buried in a landfill. Thanks for sharing your lovely idea.

  13. Karen Choat says

    I am the memory keeper in my extended family. I hate to see these abandoned pictures everywhere I go also and will never understand. I am in charge of our annual family reunion and a few years ago my son-in-law cut large blocks for me and he and my daughter made copies of old pics and mod podged them on the blocks. That gave us six sides to fill on each block. We use them each year as centerpieces on the tables at the reunion.

  14. These are so pretty, Angie! And if someone didn’t want to use the original, they could always use a copy! Thanks for sharing!

  15. Great idea Angie!! Glad you kept the photos 🙂

  16. what a sweet way to showcase photos and so fun

  17. Love this idea! I’ve been wanting to try a photo transfer on a block of wood, but this would be so much easier. I really like how you added the vintage scrap paper to the block thdn the picture. I am going to have to try this out. Thanks for sharing!

  18. What a lovely idea


  1. […] got this idea from “Knick Of Time” Wood scraps and antique photographs. I decided to make up several for a few different projects, and I wanted to share my version of how I […]

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